Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Japanese Barberry
Berberis thunbergii 'Aurea'

Family: Berberidaceae (bear-ber-id-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Berberis (BUR-bur-is) (Info)
Species: thunbergii (thun-BERG-ee-eye) (Info)
Cultivar: Aurea

Synonym:Berberis thunbergii var. atropurpurea

8 vendors have this plant for sale.

6 members have or want this plant for trade.


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)
36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)
USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)
USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade

Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring

Grown for foliage
Good Fall Color

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season
This plant is resistant to deer

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball
From softwood cuttings
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
From seed; stratify if sowing indoors
By stooling or mound layering

Seed Collecting:
Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

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Thumbnail #1 of Berberis thunbergii by plantdude

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There are a total of 13 photos.
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2 positives
1 neutral
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Negative coriaceous On Feb 21, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

Trade, transport, and planting this shrub is illegal in my state and two others, because it invades and destroys natural areas. I've seen state woodland turned into impenetrable thorny thickets of this species, where nothing else in the understory layer survives. It has naturalized across North America north of a line running from Georgia to Wyoming, and also in Washington.

Positive bonehead On Nov 21, 2009, bonehead from Cedarhome, WA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Bright yellow spring foliage, becomes pale green by late summer, then turns to gorgeous oranges. Nice contrast plant. Mine started out with a very slow start, but finally took off in its 3rd season.

Positive DiOhio On Sep 15, 2008, DiOhio from Corning, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

4 years ago a friend gave me 3 little stick-cuttings from her Golden Barberry and I managed to get one of them to root. The shrub is still small, about 2' tall and that wide, but it's beautiful and even blooms !

Neutral Sasha24641 On May 13, 2008, Sasha24641 from Richlands, VA (Zone 6a) wrote:

I was hoping to read some notes on the Golden Barberry - was disappointed to see that my post is the first! lol

I just picked up two from Lowes... They were on clearance from $19.98 down to $3.23, so I figured it would be a worth trying - even though I know NOTHING about the shrub! =)

It's a nice plant.... I'm anxious to get them planted and see how they do. I will report back here again, to let ya know!



This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

San Leandro, California
Fox River Grove, Illinois
Winnetka, Illinois
Davenport, Iowa
Brookeville, Maryland
Troy, New Hampshire
Corning, Ohio
Youngstown, Ohio
Wewoka, Oklahoma
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Moncks Corner, South Carolina
Hereford, Texas
Salt Lake City, Utah
Olympia, Washington
Stanwood, Washington

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